Last Updated on April 23, 2023 by Becky Roberts
Seeing your pet suffer is one of the most painful things to watch. Especially when there is nothing you can do much about it. This is the case with hot spots in dogs. It’s painful, it’s itchy and you just wished you saw it sooner for what it was. But don’t worry! Hot spots are preventable. And your dog doesn’t have to suffer from them again. Here are some ways on how.
Hot spots or as vets call it Acute Moist Dermatitis or Pyotraumatic Dermatitis is a red, inflamed, skin lesion caused by a bacterial infection. Often times they are commonly mistaken as an insect bite. However, they are extremely different as hot spots can increase dramatically in size in a short period of time. Excessive licking, continued scratching, and gnawing at the affected area until a painful lesion appears is a sign of a hot spot.
Determine the Underlying Cause
Treating a current hotspot now doesn’t mean it’s not going to come back. The best way to prevent hot spots (as cliché as this sounds) is still addressing the root of the problem. One of the things you can look at is allergies. Allergies can be:
- Food Allergies
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
- Contact Irritants
Although uncommon, food allergies just like in humans can happen to dogs. Some of the symptoms you can look out for are itchiness, hair loss, and digestive related problems like diarrhea and vomiting. An important note to remember is that dogs can be allergic to any food ingredient. However, proteins especially dairy products like lamb, beef, chicken, and grains are one of the common food allergies. Check the label of the food you give to your pet to see if any of these ingredients are present. Switching to a hypoallergenic diet may be the solution you are looking for.
In a similar way, Atopic Dermatitis can also be one of the reasons your pet is itching. Atopic Dermatitis is a hereditary disease that often shows between the ages of one to three years. Certain breeds are more prone like Golden Retrievers, terriers, Lhasa Apsos, and bulldogs. However, other mixed breeds can have Atopic Dermatitis as well. Atopic dogs lick, scratch, rub and chew a spot in their skin causing redness and hair loss in the area.
Dogs affected with flea allergy aren’t really affected by the flea itself. It happens when the dog’s immune system overreacts to the components in its saliva that causes skin irritation. The effect, however, is totally different from your normal flea bite. The flea allergy is more intense and even if the flea is removed, the irritation can still last for two weeks. Preventive measures such as regular flea control using flea shampoo or flea collar and cleaning your house can keep your pet away from fleas.
Molds, grasses, weeds, pollen, and dust in your home can also cause itchiness to your dogs. These are considered contact irritants. Monitoring his reaction to these things and then avoiding them altogether can prevent recurring hot spots.
Having your dog groomed regularly is more than keeping them looking good. Grooming prevents a lot of skin infection. It not only enables you to detect skin issues earlier but for it to be treated earlier as well. Breeds with thick coats like St. Bernards, Rottweilers, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds need their coats clipped and brushed more often to prevent matting. Keeping their long coats short during the summer months is advisable.
Hot spots may be hidden behind matted hair so it is important to remove or untangle mats the moment you see it. More so, scheduling a grooming session every 6 to 8 weeks for your pet is a good way in preventing hot spots in the future.
Thoroughly Drying your Dog after a Bath
Owning a dog that just loves the water is fun as it is high maintenance. This may sound completely basic Dog Care 101 but drying your dog after a bath is an important step in preventing hot spots. It’s important to quickly dry them once bathing and swimming time is over. This prevents matting and eliminates any excess moisture in the skin that is a potential breeding ground for bacteria.
As simple as recognizing poor grooming practices and adapting good practices can save your pet from future skin diseases like hot spots.
Provide Adequate Exercise
Some dogs have higher energy than most. Not giving them enough walks and playtime can make them stressed and bored. Chewing shoes, destroying furniture, and compulsive scratching is just one of the common signs of stress in dogs. Increasing their daily exercise and providing enough mental stimulation can help prevent hot spots in the future. Activities like tug-of-war and playing fetch are just some of the physical activities you can do. Certain breeds have their own unique heritage like herding, guarding, and pulling carts. Use these innate abilities to find something fun the both of you can enjoy.
If you are mostly away, investing in slow feeders and toys that stimulate his mind can keep him occupied for hours. Obedience training is also a great way to keep him busy. It not only teaches manners but can be a great way to show your friends some fun tricks your dog can do.
Essential Fatty Acids
One way to prevent hot spots from occurring is by providing them with supplemental fatty acids. Fish oils with Omega-3 EPA and DHA acids are perfect for keeping their skin condition in top shape. It’s a method worth trying as they have reportedly no harmful effects and have no side effects either. It’s fairly easy to include in their diet as some products allow them to be administered together with their kibbles. Not only is it healthy, but these acids also help lessen their chances of getting an infection and developing allergies later in life.
Dog hot spots are common skin problems in dogs. However, preventing them from happening is easier than treating them. Identifying the underlying cause and then closely monitoring the environment will go a long way for you and your four-legged friend. Determine any skin allergies. Boost their immune system. Bathe them often but make sure you dry them properly. Give an ample amount of play. And don’t forget to schedule grooming sessions every now and then. Be sure to follow these tips and say bye-bye to hotspots fur-ever!